CASE SUMMARY OF:
Adetutu Adesanya v. Alhaji S. D. Aderonmu & Ors. (2000)
1. Alhaji S. D. Aderonmu
2. Prince K. G. Akere
3. Alhaji A. O. Olaogun (Executors and Trustees of the Estate of the late Chief S. D. Akere)
(2000) 9 NWLR (Pt.672) 370;
Supreme Court of Nigeria
LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh
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Bank: Zenith Bank.
Name: Branham Paul Chima.
Account No.: 2178756839.
LAWYERS WHO ADVOCATED
FOR THE APPELLANT (herein referred to as the Defendant)
- O. A. Obiose Esq.
FOR THE RESPONDENT (herein referred to as the Plaintiff)
- Alhaji A. Isola-Gbenla
The plaintiff's (Adetutu) cases as pleaded and testified to is based on sale under customary law. He purchased the land in dispute some time in 1971 from the Ayoade family through one Aderinola Ejide Ayoade, the then oldest member of the Ayoade family. The plaintiff bought the land in dispute for the sum of #1,250.00 and had since been in peaceable possession thereof through his caretaker. The defendant - Aderonmu (at the High Court), for her part, claimed that she purchased the land in dispute some time in 1977 from the Akinbode family whose ancestor was said to have settled on the land before the Kiriji war. The defendant bought the land under customary law for the sum of N3,700.00 from Lawani Ayoade who was then the Mogaji and head of the Akinbode family. She duly paid the said purchase price and was issued with a receipt. She also went into possession of the land and dug a foundation preparatory to the erection of a building thereon. She had since applied for and was granted a certificate of statutory right of occupancy in respect of the land in dispute by the Governor of Oyo State.
At the High Court, Judgement was given in favour of the plaintiff - Adetutu. On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the High Court decision was overturned, and judgement awarded in favour of the defendant - Aderonmu. Adetutu has taken also to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal.
Whether on the evidence adduced by the plaintiff in this cases there was any or sufficient proof of his title to the land in dispute?
This appeal was dismissed. Judgement was given in favour of the Respondent.
The main the argument advanced by the appellant's Counsel is that the land is not properly demarcated to show that it belongs to the respondent. He made mention of the receipt given to the respondent and the description contained in it not being in tandem with the respondent's surveyors plan. The Court dismissed such argument and granted judgement in the respondent's favour.
The Court held, Per Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh, "It is plain to me in the present cases that as the exact identity and boundaries of the land in dispute were sufficiently and more particularly delineated in the plaintiffs survey plan - Exhibit D, and therein verged red, the learned trial Judge, with respect, was in definite error to have held that the boundaries of the said land were not established. In my view, the court below was absolutely right to have disturbed this erroneous finding of fact on the part of the trial court.";
For ownership the Court held, Per Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh, JSC, "Copious evidence was led by the plaintiff and his witnesses in line with the averments in his pleadings. The land in dispute was held by the Ayoade family under Customary law. Accordingly, no such thing as a written contract or conveyance was necessary to effect a valid sale thereof by the Ayoade family to the plaintiff. Payment of the agreed purchase price by the plaintiff coupled with the delivery of possession of the land to him created a valid sale of the land by the Ayoade family to him under Customary law."
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The end of this brief.
"It is trite law that a plaintiff when claiming a declaration of title to land must succeed on the strength of his own cases and not on the weakness of the defendant's cases. If this onus is not discharged, the weakness of the defendant's cases will not help him and the proper judgment will be for the defendant. The rationale behind this principle is that the plaintiff, having sought relief from the court but failed to establish his entitlement thereto, ought to have his claim rejected. However, this broad general principle of law does not naturally apply where the defendant's cases itself lends support to that of the plaintiff and contains evidence on which the plaintiff is entitled to rely." - Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh, JSC. Adetutu Adesanya v. Alhaji S. D. Aderonmu & Ors. (2000)
"The law is well settled that once a party pleads and traces his root of title in a dispute over land to a particular source and this averment, as in this cases, is challenged, that party, to succeed as a plaintiff in the action, must not only establish his title to such land, he must also satisfy the court as to the title of the source from whom he claims to derive his title to the land." - Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh, JSC. Adetutu Adesanya v. Alhaji S. D. Aderonmu & Ors. (2000)
"In the same vein, an order of injunction, whether interlocutory or permanent, cannot be made in respect of an area of land whose boundaries are not properly identified." - Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh, JSC. Adetutu Adesanya v. Alhaji S. D. Aderonmu & Ors. (2000)
"I also would dismiss the appeal. It is manifest from the argument advanced for the appellant in this appeal cannot in law sway this court to overturn the decision of the court below. The main contention of the appellant that the identity of the land was not established by the respondents, became a non-issue when the pleadings are properly examined. It would be seen that the identity of the land was not raised as an issue in the pleadings. Bearing in mind that it is settled law that parties and the court are bound by the pleadings and the issues joined thereon, a party cannot therefore be allowed to raise an issue not pleaded at the trial, and even on appeal." - Per Ejiwunmi, JSC.
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